What is Kalua Pig (Kalua Pork)?

If you’re ever in Hawaii, don’t forget to ask for kalua pig or kalua pork when you’re at a luau. The word “kalua” means “to cook in an underground oven”, which in Hawaii is called an imu. It’s pronounced like the alcoholic beverage Kalua.

So what is kalua pig, exactly?

The kalua pig (or kalua pork) is the main attraction and centerpiece of many Hawaiian feasts. In the old days in Hawaiian history, these feasts were called an ‘aha’aina and the kalua pig was reserved only for the chiefs (the Alii) and the king. If you were a commoner or a woman, you were forbidden to taste it.

King Kamehaha II changed all that in 1819, and the feats gradually became known as the luau. These feasts often had hundreds or even thousands of attendees, and both men and women could then enjoy the previously forbidden kalua pig.

Their first taste made them understand why it was reserved for the upper class males, as it was certainly delicious. You’ll also understand when you get your first taste too.

The kalua pork is basically pulled pork that you cook in an underground oven, though today you don’t really need an imu to get that same taste. That’s a rather overly complicated method. You need a large dirt pit that measures 6 by 4 feet and 3 feet wide, plus koa wood, river rocks in the pit, and banana or ti leaves.

Instead, you can use your own oven. Just rub the pork shoulder with Alae sea salt, wrap it in ti leaves, and then cook it in the oven slowly with liquid smoke. Enjoy!

Or you can have the best Kalua Pig on the island at En Fuego Grill Hawaii

En Fuego Grill & Catering
590 Farrington Hwy. C-1 Suite #534
Kapolei, HI 96707
(808) 674-8805

Approximately 30-40 minutes from Honolulu Airport.